Regional MEP Jonathan Arnott has described paying almost £1,000 a day to a part-time council boss as “unjustifiable”.
“The North East Combined Authority (NECA) apparently has to dip into its reserves to help fund this nine month contract which at a time of such austerity is totally wrong.
“And it is particularly galling in light of a survey showing that children’s healthand drug related crime could increase in the region if Treasury plans to cut £200 million from local authority budgets go ahead,” he said. The survey involved almost 300 members of the Faculty of Public Health, who are holding their annual conference in Gateshead this week.
“Responsibility for some elements of public health, including drug and alcohol misuse, has gone back to local authorities but running the services with reduced funding will be a nightmare. Of course one way of easing the burden would be stop paying top bosses astronomical salaries.
“In a further slap in the face to local taxpayers NECA’s new interim head of paid service, Adam Wilkinson, has had two separate redundancy pay-outs worth £500,000 from local authorities in the past seven years.
“He is plainly very experienced and knowledgeable but this whole practice of giving ‘golden goodbyes’ to local authority top dogs, who so often then waltz into other highly paid jobs, needs to stop. It is totally unfair on the ratepayers who pay their wages,” said Mr Arnott.